Sheffield United host Bournemouth in the Premier League this Sunday looking to continue their outstanding season.
The Blades are one of the surprise packages in the league and sit sixth, only five points behind fourth placed Chelsea, and are enjoying a fantastic first campaign back in the top flight having been tipped for relegation at the start of the season.
Bournemouth have struggled for the majority of the season and are 16th, just two points outside the relegation zone. However, back to back league wins have seen the Cherries climb out of the bottom three.
This game is huge at both ends of the table, with Sheffield United wanting to push for as high a finish as possible while Bournemouth are nervously looking over their shoulders.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Sunday 9 February|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||14:00 (GMT)|
|Where Is it Played?||Bramall Lane|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 1 (UK)|
The home side have a largely clean bill of health, with only David McGoldrick on the treatment table at the moment with a foot problem.
Record signing Sander Berge is set to make his home debut after impressing in the win at Crystal Palace last time out. Lys Mousset will also be pushing for a start, having come off the bench at Selhurst Park.
Eddie Howe has more selection worries than his counterpart, especially in midfield with Jefferson Lerma suspended after seeing red against Aston Villa last weekend. Key players such as David Brooks, Charlie Daniels and Josh King are also sidelined with injuries.
There are also doubts over Arnaut Danjuma, Chris Mepham and Lloyd Kelly, leaving Howe with a serious headache ahead of Sunday's clash.
|Sheffield United||Henderson; Basham, Egan, O'Connell; Baldock, Berge, Fleck, Norwood, Stevens; Mousset, McBurnie.|
|Bournemouth||Ramsdale; Smith, Francis, Ake, Rico; Billing, Gosling, L. Cook; H. Wilson, C. Wilson, Fraser.|
Head to Head Record
This is the first year in history that both these teams have been in England's top division, with their game earlier on in the season being the first time they have faced each other in the top flight.
That game ended 1-1 at the Vitality Stadium, thanks to a late Billy Sharp equaliser.
The two have met a total of 16 times, with the Blades dominating the fixture, winning ten compared to Bournemouth's one. The south coast side's only victory came 33 years ago in 1987 when they emerged as 1-0 victors at Bramall Lane.
Prior to this season, the last time these two sides met was in League One in February 2013 when the Blades secured a 1-0 away victory. The last game at Bramall Lane was an entertaining 5-3 win for the home side, which included a certain Harry Maguire starting at the back.
Sheffield United's form throughout the season has been consistent and their recent form typifies that. They've won two and lost two of their previous five in the Premier League, with those two losses being against Liverpool and Manchester City.
During this time they have also managed to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to wins over AFC Fylde and Millwall. They've lost just one of their last six games in all competitions.
Bournemouth had experienced a horrendous run of form which saw them slide down the table to 19th, but back to back league wins has given them hope of survival. Prior to these two wins, they had not won any of their last six league games.
They were dumped out of the FA Cup at the hands of Arsenal but the two wins against Brighton and Aston Villa either side of that defeat were precious to the south coast side. They haven't won away from home since beating Chelsea in mid December.
Here are both sides' last five results.
|Crystal Palace 0-1 Sheffield United (1/2)||Bournemouth 2-1 Aston Villa (1/2)|
|Millwall 0-2 Sheffield United (25/1)||Arsenal 2-1 Bournemouth (27/1)|
|Sheffield United 0-1 Manchester City (21/1)||Norwich 1-0 Bournemouth (18/1)|
|Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United (18/1)||Bournemouth 0-3 Watford (12/1)|
|Sheffield United 1-0 West Ham (10/1)||Bournemouth 4-0 Luton (4/1)|
There's no doubt Bournemouth will be buoyant coming off consecutive league wins to climb out of the relegation zone but this is a really tricky trip to Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United have shown their ability throughout the season and Bournemouth will not have enough to get any points away from home. The Blades don't score a lot of goals but they hardly concede any.
Another steely performance from the Blades to put them even closer to the top four while Bournemouth are still precariously looking over their shoulders at the bottom three.
Prediction: Sheffield United 1-0 Bournemouth
Source : 90min